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Stay for a possible layoff check at big Oil?
Old 12-02-2014, 10:36 AM   #1
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Stay for a possible layoff check at big Oil?

If oil prices stay down long enough, I think my company may lay off people next year because it will no longer be as profitable for us to continue drilling horizontal multi-frac oil wells in the Eagleford and Bakken shale, and I might get laid off and get a check for up to a year's salary. My immediate boss says the company is looking at costs and headcounts, but he doesn't see where he could cut.

I am 59. Wife is 60. Nest egg 4 MM$. (38% stocks)
Non-Cola pensions 27 M$/ Year at age 65.
Combined Social Security, 54 M$ at my age 66

Four years of tracked pre-retirement expenses run $66 M / year after tax. Not adjusted for medical, vacation, house repairs, etc after retirement.

Do you have any advice, or similar experience on my options below ?

Here are my options :

1. Pull the plug 12/31/2014. Give notice 12/15/2015. All calculators show my withdrawal rate is 100% safe at 1.6 X projected living expenses. Living expenses tracked for 4 years, and include post retirement adjustments. I'm have been doing OMY for past two years.

I'm looking forward to enjoying life outside of work, and know it will be fun just to start on the classic books at the library and get on the bicycle in the sunshine.

2. Stay until layoffs come. Could happen any time next year from January to December. No way to tell. Might not happen at all. I may or may not be on the layoff list. Layoff check after tax could be up to 150 M$. It could be 6 months pay, or could be 12 months, depending on how generous the company is. Surprisingly, the layoff check would add only 4% to my annual 100% safe withdraw rate, or it would be enough to get a new car and fund some nice vacations for the next five years. I already have enough for the car and vacations, however.

It's hard to think of walking away from that possible big chunk of change, as it is way more than I got younger, but it feels like playing a gameshow with my life.

My boss had let me know clearly this year that I am not a good performer, and I expect to get beaten up in the face to face performance review in January, and the forced ranking against peers in February. I doubt I will have any bonus in April.

I could be fired any time, and was threatened with firing tin June, but for some reason it didn't happen. Instead, I had a meeting in with HR and my boss at that time. With a smiley face, the boss said that he had HR checking my time records, since I was a performance problem. HR found 2 weeks not accounted for in the records of my entering and departing the card reader gates outside the elevator. Earlier in the year, I took a lot of walks out in the sunshine.

Boss has told me in September that my current assignment is over by the first of the year, and have had my job posted for months, to replace me. I have not heard a word about a new assignment, or a replacement.

I could go in and ask the boss directly if layoffs are coming, and volunteer to be on the list. I don't know if he would tell me.

There is no pension, health care, etc. that will be helped by staying into next year. I have been at the company only 3 years, and don't have any benefits likely to be enhanced by a layoff.

W*RK is certainly not fun. I enjoy the people, but it is stressful getting up at 5:20 AM, and wondering if today might be the day I am fired. I have had my office almost bare for months, and have practiced packing and bugging out in 5 minutes in case I'm walked down here with a box by HR.
It's not fun to know that I'md being watched, and that I'm not highly thought of.

On the other hand, I have a lot of time without too much work to do, and I can sit in my office reading books I've wanted to catch up on.
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:42 AM   #2
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Sounds to me like you are at the top of the RIF list. You should probably continue to show up, maintain your current performance level and await the termination action. I doubt if the wait will be long.
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:47 AM   #3
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I was in a similar situation (with less savings - but still plenty enough to pull the plug).

I'd been under layoff threat for several years. My boss and I had issues which made us both miserable. I kept hoping for a layoff for the severance.

In June I decided to just go ahead and quit. Best decision I ever made. The threatened layoff still hasn't happened. I quit right before they were going to start making me babysit a customer site on and off through the summer... Not my idea of fun (or productive) work. I like travel on my terms... not going to crappy podunk towns having little choice of what/where to eat and no stove to cook, and being away from my DH and kids.

If you're unhappy... and the numbers work... go for it.
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:53 AM   #4
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Always nice to leave on your terms. Sounds to me like the 150K severance won't really mean all that much. You have plenty of money to enjoy your retirement.

Git while the gittens good.
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:08 AM   #5
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From your description, it sounds like you will be top of your bosses layoff candidates list. Also given the situation in oil now, I think you are correct layoffs are likely. Getting the chunk of benefit is a nice bonus, especially since you are not expecting any regular bonus. Since your current assignment ends at first of the year, I predict you will be laid off before the bonus time anyway, so they do not have to deal with that for you and other layoff employees.

Alternatively, the layoff benefits are not going to change your lifestyle or retirement plans. Since your boss and you are not on great terms, consider detrimental effects to your quality of life by staying.

So should you stay and get laid off or go now and enjoy the additional time? Your choice, either option you have the same retirement.
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:30 AM   #6
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I have a similar job situation that depends on the price of oil - E&C contractor. We've been hit with various belt-tightening efforts but the bottom line will come down to payroll. We've not had any layoff but it appears highly likely in the part of the company that heavily depends on Upstream work. I'm officially in Downstream and our business is fairly stable.

The only thing I would get out of getting layed off would be the ability to get unemployment (only worth about $20K). It's not going to be a factor in my decision to resign/retire (no difference) in January.

In your situation, I'd hang around for a couple of months since it doesn't seem too painful for you. I'd continue to be a low performing slug to the best of my ability. I'd be bad enough to hold the #1 slot on the RIF list but not enough to give cause for termination (possibly no severance). If there are no layoffs by bonus time, you can check out on your own. If you get RIF-ed you can thank your boss for the check on the way out. You can tell him you were about to retire anyway and appreciate the nice car/vacation/etc that this covers for you. Make it a big wet kiss kind of goodbye.

I've got 10 more "in-office" days until I resign/retire on 5 Jan 2015.
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:41 AM   #7
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Leave now. Your boss is much more likely to fire you outright for performance issues than to put your name on the sweet rewards RIF list for a severance package.
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Old 12-02-2014, 12:02 PM   #8
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If I was in your situation, the fact that I could be fired any day would certainly not be causing me any stress at all. Who cares? You're set financially!

I would probably just quit now and tell them that the company's performance is not up to my standards.
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Stay for a possible layoff check at big Oil?
Old 12-02-2014, 12:27 PM   #9
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Stay for a possible layoff check at big Oil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post
Leave now. Your boss is much more likely to fire you outright for performance issues than to put your name on the sweet rewards RIF list for a severance package.

I'd disagree, it sounds like the constant threat of firing is just that, a threat. Obviously the bosses hands are tied or it would be done already.

I'd bet the boss see the layoff window as a workaround, and less paperwork too.

If my boss was an ass like yours seems to be, I'd probably stick around and REALLY half-ass it to make his life miserable until you are let go. Make sure he knows he has zero power over you. But i'm a vindictive SOB.

If you do hand in your resignation, give it to someone else, someone you respect. Go around saying goid byes to different people. Let your boss find out last, it will elevate his peers and lower his standing. If he has a nemesis, thats the person.

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Old 12-02-2014, 12:54 PM   #10
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I'd definitely stick around for a few more months and wait for the layoff, instead of quitting on my own. Certainly the severance check won't change your lifestyle, but it is a nice "gift" to yourself and you deserved it! Why should you give it up? And the best thing is, you can claim unemployment benefit after the check runs out! That's 2+ years of nice and easy $$ coming in without having to touch your nest egg. What a sweet deal.
Just make sure you stay on top of that RIF list of your boss'.
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Old 12-02-2014, 01:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I'd definitely stick around for a few more months and wait for the layoff, instead of quitting on my own. Certainly the severance check won't change your lifestyle, but it is a nice "gift" to yourself and you deserved it! Why should you give it up? And the best thing is, you can claim unemployment benefit after the check runs out! That's 2+ years of nice and easy $$ coming in without having to touch your nest egg. What a sweet deal.
Just make sure you stay on top of that RIF list of your boss'.
How long would you keep postponing it? I read a few of the OP's posts--he started with a 10/2013 plan, pushed it to this past summer, then to 12/2014 (Did you preplan your retirement day?), now to some vague time beyond that because there might be layofds and there might be severance and a package.... He's been financially set from the original date according to his posts. Nothing better to do now with those 8 hours a day than sit in an office job he doesn't enjoy with a boss who is watching him for mistakes when he is FI?
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Old 12-02-2014, 01:57 PM   #12
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There will be unemployment checks, if not severance if you are riffed. Stick around for those. Start planning a trip to a warm place in January.
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Old 12-02-2014, 02:00 PM   #13
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My question is about the severance package. When I went through a RIF 5 years ago with a large corporate entity the amount of money was totally based on time employed. 6 weeks pay + 1 week for every 6 months worked (works out to 12 weeks in your case). Is there something that leads you to believe it will be up to 12 months of pay seeing as you've only been there 3 years?

Yesterday a 52 year old non-smoking friend told me he was diagnosed with lung cancer. You have plenty of money. Unless your happy where you are just move on to something you will enjoy more.
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Old 12-02-2014, 02:05 PM   #14
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OP: Sounds like you're doing bad work in a job you don't like with a boss you're at best indifferent to, with enough money that you'll in all likelihood die with a huge amount more money than you have today.

What are you waiting for?

IMO: Without intending to be nasty about it, your decision-making is a hint at why you might be considered a poor performer at work. Time to take charge and be a great performer in retirement.
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Old 12-02-2014, 02:36 PM   #15
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If I were you, I'd be gone in a second. With $4M and your pension & SS vs. your expenses, you are set. Enjoy life. It's too darned short.
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Old 12-02-2014, 02:41 PM   #16
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With a history of your boss telling you are being investigated for time charging violations , and " Could be fired at any time" yet that not happening, I advise seeking a consultation from an employment law atty. Not to start an action, but to see if a negotiated severance agreement is a possibility. The employee is usually not well equipped to negotiate such an agreement. A good local employment law atty. will likely know a lot of how your specific employer operates in the HR realm.

Bigger questions ?

How does your wife feel about this ?

Do you really have a plan to occupy your time after ER ? I haven't read your prev. plan post's. In any case you need a plan B and plan C.

I left with half of "plan A " as I call it, no money worries, but the change from 41 years of work to so called " Golden Years " isn't working so well .

If you are really ready to jump, give maybe 30 days notice. Unless you are non-replaceable, employers often either put folks in such a situation on paid admin leave , an not have to work the last days. What about un-used vacation ?

At best, 6 mo. severance and no bonus. As others opined, not much money in the larger view.
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Old 12-02-2014, 03:39 PM   #17
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To the OP - if your boss has already told you your a a poor performer, and you are also being investigated, it is unlikely you will get severance, they can just fire you. Remember that severance is *not* guaranteed unless you have a signed employment contract stating that. I have seen this happen at my Megacorp - poor performers hoping to stick it out to gain severance instead were fired months before layoffs with severance occurred.
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:29 PM   #18
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I've been retired for 18 months and time has never gone so fast. I am loving it. If I were you, I'd walk in tomorrow and resign.
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Old 12-02-2014, 06:04 PM   #19
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I would stick around. You can be eligible for unemployment benefits not to mention the possible severance.

Severance is probably taxed at a high marginal tax rate but just the same 6-12 months in your pocket is better than the door hitting ya in the back side.

I agree with others that they would have fired you already had they identified grounds to do so. Maybe they are being nice to not can you at Christmas but I doubt that they are so kind.

Set a time frame. Keep quiet. Tread water and if nothing happens by trigger date, just bail. No sense wasting your life in a bad situation when the cash won't change the taste of your Cheerios.
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Old 12-02-2014, 06:40 PM   #20
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Isn't going to work while you are being watched and on bad terms with your boss quite stressful? I know it would be if I were in your shoes.

The point is that if there is added stress due to this, it could manifest in really serious health problems for you.

Are you sure you want to shoulder the risk given your financial situation?

-gauss

p.s. I had one of my best friends at work die suddenly after the new (inexperienced) manager starting jacking him around for several years. My friend was also FI at the time. The new manager has since been demoted out of management for unrelated performance issues of his own
(basically too much up-managing while not running his own business)
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